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Our Club Building is Finished

Posted by on July 19, 2016

September 19 and 24, 1944: two letters from Stanley to Dad. Stanley is still in Deenethorpe with the 401st Bomb Group while Dad is on a two week furlough from Topeka Army Air Base. Stanley apologizes for the delay in writing, explaining that, “For the last two weeks we have had so much work that I did not get a chance to even take a day off. The payroll was my worst trouble and still is. It takes such a long time to do it. I am almost caught up in the  work. This coming week I am on CQ and so I will write a letter to you also.”

Stanley provides an update on the new gathering place on base. “Our club building is finished on the outside and we now have windows in it. The inside is getting decorated up a little and it will be a cozy place after it is completely finished. We have two stoves in it and it is nice and warm.” Even though the club house is not finished in the inside, he writes that “…we played some ping pong at the clubhouse and sat around the warm stove. It is looking pretty good inside now…”

He writes that he enjoying playing ping pong in his spare time and that they had a drive to benefit the 8th Air Force Band. Stanley bought a raffle ticket and won a $50 War Bond.

Stanley also writes about a special entertainer that visited the base. “Last night we had as our honored guest on the base. Yehudi Menuhin, the world famous violinist. I am pretty sure you heard of him. He played quite a few selections, a few of which was the Flight of the Bumblebee. The closing feature was the playing of the Ave Maria. That sure was beautiful. Quite a few GIs came from other bases to see him play.”

Yehudi Menuhin visits Allied soldiers during WWII. Photo credit NPR

Yehudi Menuhin visits Allied soldiers during WWII. Photo credit NPR

On the 24th Stanley writes that he is on charge of quarters duty and has “the opportunity to type a letter.” He details what was for dinner. “Tonight for supper we had turkey. I got mostly white meat and also got the wishbone and [it] all tasted pretty good. I don’t know what the occasion was but it suited me okay. Couple days ago we had ice cream and today turkey, I don’t get it. Something must be wrong somewhere.”

Before wrapping up, Stanley writes, “This coming Wednesday we have a USO show at the base and as usual I will go and see it. I think that it might be a good one.” He closes, “I am beginning to get sleepy and I think it is pretty late so I guess I’ll close for now until the near future.”

Since this is the last letter from Stanley for the month, it is time for my usual run down of the missions flown by the 401st. For the month of September 1944, they were:

  • Sept. 3, 1944: Ludwigshaven, Oil Refinery
  • Sept. 5, 1944: Ludwigshaven, Oil Refinery
  • Sept. 9, 1944: Mannheim, Synthetic Oil Plant
  • Sept. 10, 1944: Gaggenau, Daimler-Benz Plant
  • Sept. 11, 1944: Merseburg, Synthetic Oil Plant
  • Sept. 13, 1944: Merseburg, Synthetic Oil Plant
  • Sept. 17, 1944: Groesbeek, Holland, Gun Emplacements
  • Sept. 19, 1944: Hamm, Marshalling Yards & Supply Lines
  • Sept. 22, 1944: Kassel, Engineering Pant
  • Sept. 25, 1944: Leaflet drop over Frankfurt
  • Sept. 26, 1944: Osnabruk Railway Shops
  • Sept. 27, 1944: Cologne Auto Plant
  • Sept. 28, 1944: Magdeburg Marshalling Yards (150th Mission)
  • Sept. 30, 1944: Munster, Rail Yards

I leave you with a video clip of Yehudi Menuhin performing The Flight of the Bumblebee from the 1943 movie Stage Door Canteen.

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